COVID-19 information for aGES

covid19ages.pngThe Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences remains dedicated to supporting the campus population.

We are actively practicing social distancing, which means we remain open for business but we are limiting the number of students, faculty and staff in the department. At this time, we are currently working to provide assistance virtually with limited on site personnel or by phone or email. Please contact our office  by emailing Lauri Miller ( or Bill Anderson ( or by calling the office (828.262.3049) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

About Our Programs

The Appalachian State University Geological and Environmental Sciences Department (aGES) provides students with a solid foundation on which to build a successful career in the geosciences and environmental sciences. We are the largest undergraduate geosciences department in the UNC system, and we have been successful in establishing a program that is arguably among the best Bachelor degree programs in earth and environmental sciences available in the southeastern United States.

At aGES, we offer the following degree programs and concentrations:


See our What should I major in? page to determine if our programs are right for you!

See Get Involved! for opportunities for aGES students in research, outreach, and teaching.

What should I major in?

"I want to study environmental science but I hate math and science!"

"Isn't geology just about rocks?"

"Do I need an environmental science or geology degree for the job I want?"

Many students come into our program a bit confused as to what the geosciences and environmental sciences actually are.  Click here for a detailed explanation between the different degree tracks within the geosciences and environmental sciences here at Appalachian. This page will help guide you to the degree track that is right for you - either in this department or in a different department.

If you're not yet sure you want to major in Geology or Environmental Science, take one (or more) of our many General Education classes - learn about water resources, environmental cleanup, dinosaurs, oceanography, natural disasters, energy resources, fossils, and of course... rocks.  According to Slate, "Introductory Geology classes are the best science electives" and we certainly agree!

Ask A Geologist

You've got questions? We've got answers!  Ask A Geologist!

Did you find something that puzzled you in your backyard or on top of a mountain? Have questions about local environmental problems? Want to know about what's going on in Boone Creek, the Watauga River, and the New River? Concerned about fracking in your region? Do you have a mineral that you can't identify? Think you found a meteorite? We will do our best to answer any geological/environmental question. We also have pages that answer some of our most frequently asked questions.

What's so special about our department?

We study more than just rocks.

Geology is about more than just rocks.

Environmental Science is about more than just ecology, policy, or regulations.

What is Geology?

Our faculty have expertise in all fields of the Earth and Environmental sciences.

Click on our each of our research programs below to see what we do!


How does the earth move?


Tectonics Research Group:


What processes affect water supply and quality?

researchers in river

Hydrology and Environmental Geology Research Group:


What do fossils tell us?

bone microscopy image

Paleontology Research Group:


What do landforms tell us? How do humans influence landscapes?

Surface processes

Surface Processes Research Group


What do the minerals in rocks tell us? What is the role they play in the environment?

mineral microscopy image

Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry Research Group:


How is Earth's climate recorded in minerals, rocks, sediment, water, and ice? How has climate changed through time?

Records of Climate Change

Records of Climate Change Research Group:


Latest News

Moon Rocks in the Optics Lab

Want to see and hold moon rocks from the Apollo missions without going to a museum?  You can if you major in geology! Every year, Dr. Sarah Carmi...

GES alum Jared Voris ('16) discovers & names new tyrannosaur

Jared Voris, a Department alumnus ('16) and now University of Calgary PhD student, discovered and named a new genus and species of tyrannosaur. T...

Petroleum Experts Limited Donates MOVE Software License to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

We are pleased to announce the donation of the MOVE software package to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences by Scotland-based Petr...

Dr Ellen Cowan honored with Chancellor's Award

Dr Ellen Cowan was the inaugural winner of the Chancellor's Award, which recognizes career-long research achievements. An Appalachian Today artic...

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Hageman, newly elected GSA Fellow!

Dr. Steve Hageman has recently been recognized as a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, based on his research of fossil and modern bryozoans,...